Marcin Lewandowski after the 800m at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 (© Getty Images)
European indoor 800m champion Marcin Lewandowski identifies a heart-breaking moment from the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships and two heart-warming experiences from his personal life for his high and low moments.
I had looked forward to competing at the 2014 World Indoor Championships in my home country of Poland for a long time. I was excited at the prospect of running in front of a Polish crowd. I knew they would act as extra motivation and spur me on for a better performance.
The experience in Sopot was unbelievable. I made it through to the final and I was so inspired by the crowd, who were screaming at me and my fellow Pole Adam Kszczot, that I decided to push on and hit the front at 400m.
I went on to cross the finish line in third, one place behind Adam. After placing fourth at the 2011 and 2013 IAAF World Championships in Daegu and Moscow, it was an unforgettable moment to think I had finally won a medal at a global championship. I took a lap of honour with the Polish flag and waited to receive my medal.
But only a minute before the medal ceremony, the fourth-placed athlete Andrew Osagie (of Great Britain) appeared and I was told I had been disqualified for stepping on to the inside of the track with about 30 metres to go.
To be told this news hurt. I was angry and disappointed and I remember I picked up my bag, left the arena and went for a walk back to the hotel. I just wanted to be alone at that moment.
It was a really tough experience but I believe in God and I tried to rationalise what had happened by believing my disqualification was all part of God’s plan for me.
On the track, the biggest high was finishing sixth in the Rio Olympic final when that day I ran a perfect race for me.
However, the biggest high I have experienced was the birth of my two daughters. My first daughter, Mia, was born on 2 September 2013 and I just remember the incredible thrill watching her being born.
At that point in my career, with a child on the way, I was unsure about whether I would continue to train or what the future would hold, so I remember being unbelievably motivated to produce my best. Four days before my first daughter was born, I ran a PB of 1:43.79 in the Zurich Diamond League. Four days after Mia entered the world, I ran 1:43.83 in Brussels.
My second daughter, Midia, was born in June 2015, which was once again a huge thrill. There is no doubt being a father has made me a better athlete. It puts athletics in perspective because I know no matter what I achieve in the sport, tomorrow morning I will still be their father. I will wake up, give them a kiss and send them to school.
I feel very lucky to have two children; the grass is always greener with kids.
Steve Landells for the IAAF